Former Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone believes three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton could easily walk away from the sport at the end of the season.

Hamilton has been criticised by the media for his off-track antics and lavish lifestyle in the past, despite the Briton’s highly successful career in the sport.

The 32-year-old is aiming to match Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel on four world championships in 2017.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Ecclestone says Hamilton may become tired with F1 and decide to hang up his helmet if he goes on to dominate this year.

“What worries me a little bit is if Lewis suddenly thinks to himself ‘I tell you what I’m going to do, I’ve had enough people criticising me, I’m going to be on pole in every race, win every race, and stop at the end of the year’,” he said.

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“I hope he doesn’t do it.” Former F1 driver David Coulthard shares Ecclestone’s vision that the multiple race winner could retire; the Scot believes Hamilton’s passion for F1 could be diminishing.

“It wouldn’t take much for him to say, for want of a better word, f*** it? ‘Thank you, I’m off,” said Coulthard.

“It could be sooner than we may all want. He’s got enough money to make those decisions.

“When things are working well you see the passion, you can see the little boy in the man. But when you see him being asked the same questions day in day out, you can see the eyes glaze over.

“And when that passion goes, you can fool the people but you can’t fool yourself. He could even go during the season.”